Having a planting plan can really crimp your style, especially if you’re a plant person with a shopping problem. Though being organized enough to know what you need to go out and get is soothing, there’s little room for disguising the purchases you made on a spur of the moment.
Which is what I’m going to have to figure out how to do now that I’ve seen the new Plant Select plants for 2010. Old friends and new have made this year’s list of hardy plants that thrive in the Rocky Mountain west.
Developed by the Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University, and members of GreenCo (the green industries of Colorado), Plant Select has been testing and offering gorgeous selections from across the globe that are suited for our harsh sun and dry conditions. Each year several new introductions earn the moniker of this prestigious plant program, with the 2010 offerings arriving in local gardens centers.
If you’re shopping for something to set your garden apart, check out these plants:
Snow Mesa buckwheat (Eriogonum wrightii var. wrightii), is a tough little plant that would do well under the tender care I dish out to the garden – neglect. Growing 18 to 20 inches tall and wide, the plant tag suggests putting it in lean soil, unenriched by compost or fertilizers. Keep this xeric plant dry and you’ll be rewarded with blooms from August to November. As the snowy white flowers age through fall, they turn russet, punctuating the garden with delighterful color. Zones 4 – 9.
Hockey fans wanting a bit of fun in summer should pop in Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora), a hummingbird magnet sure to give your backyard all the action of the NHL. Whizzing along at top speeds and bouncing off each other in their haste to get to the blooms, hummingbirds find this native of Texas and Mexico an irresistible draw.
Arching, evergreen sword-like leaves are topped by towering spikes of brilliant rose-pink flowers. Plant this in a drier location of your garden where the birds have room to fly; once it’s established it needs and occasional deep watering to keep it thriving. Zones 5 – 10.
If you need a plant that stops passersby, look for Red Feathers (Echium amoenum), a petite, four-inch tall plant that knows how to put on a show. Lifting rust-red flower spires on 14-inch stalks, Red Feathers will bloom over and over if deadheaded after the first spring display. Zones 3 – 9.
Tow-toned Prairie Lode Sundrops (Calylophus serrulatus ’Prairie Lode’) is a prairie native that lights up drier parts of the garden. Unfurling from orange buds, the yellow flowers cloak the plant throughout the summer, providing a steady show of color from May through September. Perfect for sun or part shade, Prairie Lode prefers lean soil and drier conditions. Zones 3 – 9.
Garden spaces crying out for groundcover are the ideal spot for Partridge Feather (Tanacetum densum ssp. Amani), a silver creeper that slowly but surely will cover a two-foot area. Soft leaves make petting this plant hard to resist; put it in the hottest sun-filled spot in the yard. Zones 4 – 9.
These plants and more can be found at local retailers.